At least six senators have welcomed the appointment of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin Jr. as Special Envoy of the President to the People’s Republic of China for Special Concerns.
For Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, Locsin is “perfect for that job” given his expertise and experience in dealing with China being the former chief of the Department of Foreign Affairs and former Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations.
“He is extremely loyal to the cause of protecting the sovereignty of our country as proven by the hundreds of diplomatic protests that he personally filed on behalf of our country during the Duterte presidency. His familiarity with the leaders of China as well as their methods is what makes him perfect for the job,” the Senate chief said.
Even opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros vouched for Locsin’s capability to stand up for Philippine sovereignty, citing the latter’s “strong and balanced” position on China during his stint as DFA chief in the previous administration.
“Ambassador Locsin’s track record shows his strong and balanced position on China, even when he served under a former President who kowtowed to Beijing,” Hontiveros said.
The Senate deputy minority leader said she expects Locsin to maintain that position and “indefatigably” uphold the 2016 Arbitral Ruling in all his engagements with his Chinese counterparts.
“An experienced diplomat, he has a knack for words that I hope he uses boldly in defense of our national interest,” she added.
Meanwhile, Senator Jinggoy Estrada called President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s appointment of Locsin as an interesting move as it came on the heels of a series of incidents in the West Philippine Sea.
“As an experienced diplomat and skilled communicator, his deep understanding of diplomatic protocol, international relations, and the nuances of various issues will enable him to engage with China on a wide range of concerns. Clear communication is crucial for building mutual understanding and finding common ground,” the Senate committee on national defense chairperson said.
“The success of Locsin’s role as a special envoy will depend on his ability to navigate the intricacies of international diplomacy, communicate effectively, and foster a productive atmosphere for a dialogue between the two countries,” he added.
For Senator JV Ejercito, who is a member of the Senate committee on foreign relations, Locsin’s appointment is a “good timing as it is still important to keep lines open in the midst of the West Philippine Sea conflict.”
He said Locsin is the “best one for the job” as “he is known as a troubleshooter during his DFA days.”
Senator Grace Poe said Locsin is an “impressive and interesting choice.”
“He is an adroit diplomat and skilled leader, unafraid to go to whatever lengths necessary for the best interest of the Filipinos. We hope he can help the country navigate through the rough waters of the West Philippine Sea to defend and protect what belongs to us,” Poe, who is also a member of the Senate foreign relations panel, said.
Another member of the panel, Senator Francis Escudero, believes that Locsin is both competent and capable for the post.
As he welcomed Locsin’s new appointment, Escudero also commended the president for this initiative, saying this shows Marcos’ commitment to finding and pursuing peaceful ways of asserting our rights and sovereignty in regard to the West Philippine Sea.–LDF, GMA Integrated News